Community Wellness Work in Pakistan

Pat Omidian spent about 20 minutes with one woman, showing her the Guesthouse poem (translated into Urdu) and having her say As-salamu’alaikum (saying hello–literally offering the wish for peace) to her inner guests. The woman came away amazed and told everyone in the household about her experience.

Did you ever wonder what Pat does there?

The practice of Community Wellness Focusing is developing deep roots in Pakistan.  In many visits there, Pat has taught techniques for inner wellness, nurtured that process, and supported the local professionals, community leaders and experts doing the hard, daily, on-the-ground work in communities throughout the country.  Those she trains are able to continue the work on their own after she leaves.

Pat is currently in Pakistan for a three-month stay, providing a mix of  inter-related Community Wellness Focusing activities, such as  teaching classes and giving lectures at various universities; supporting important existing local work; offering trainings to various types of community workers; and conducting workshops at organizations where staff are interested in learning how to be with their inner places.

Since few details are arranged in advance, personal connections are often make in the moment, through referrals “on the ground” by others who have seen the work in action. She interacts with many individuals, including counselors, social workers, community outreach workers, teachers, mental health professionals, and others.

This directly aligns with and carries forward our mission by reaching out to communities and individuals who need community wellness and psychosocial support through Focusing but cannot afford it or do not have access to it.

As examples, on her last trip, Pat was able to:

  • present a two-hour ‘introduction to listening’ training by sharing experiences on community work with approximately 400 students of Pakistan’s Community Services Program, at The National University of Science and Technology (NUST)  in Islamabad.
  • introduce Focusing to members of a spiritual group, who were excited to discover that Focusing was already referred to as an important part of Sufi practice in a text they were reading for their weekly discussions.
  • work with students at the Department of Behavioral Science at NUST.
  • identify and collaborate with existing and new contacts to establish the groundwork for future follow-up activities on this next visit.

During her current visit, Pat is expanding this work through networking with the trainers who are established in the western part of the country. Her contacts have created a full schedule for her remaining time there.

Activities for this current trip, to-date and still planned, include:

  • providing a teacher training on psychosocial support for teachers at a secondary school in Lahore. This was funded in part by FII, and by the organization which invited her.
  • returning to NUST to work with two cohorts of graduate students at the Department of Behavioral Sciences, continuing the work started last December. She and Pakistani professor trained in FOT will conduct an advanced level training at NUST in April.
  • continuing discussions regarding the formation of a men’s support group, to support Focusing and wellness for men working in the mental health fields and to help encourage more men to enter the field.
  • presenting at the Pakistan Surgeon General’s International Conference on Health
  • conducting a training on self-care (Focusing), as well as program development and implementation for a community-based mental health program in Karachi.
  • giving lectures to students at various universities across the country.

We aim to provide the training, tools and techniques for communities and individuals to work towards resiliency and community wellness. Focusing Initiatives needs your support to be able to continue and expand this work in Pakistan and elsewhere.

Please consider a tax-deductible donation to make this a reality.